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Cracked ceilings: what they mean and how to repair them

Are you concerned about cracks that have appeared in your plaster or dry wall? In most cases cracked ceilings don't indicate any serious problems and they can be repaired quickly and simply. This guide will help you to understand the causes of cracks and explain how you can cover them over.

What do cracked ceilings mean?

Plaster can expand and contract as the weather changes. This movement can cause small cracks to open up over time. This type of cracked ceiling is nothing to worry about (and is especially common in houses that are less than two years old); the number of cracks will reduce as the house "settles".

Another common cause of cracked ceilings is water damage. Water damage may not be obvious at first, so it's a good idea to investigate cracks to make sure that there's no deeper underlying problem. Look for tell-tale signs of water damage like damp spots and stains.

How to repair cracked ceilings

All but the most severe cracks can be dealt with yourself. You can pick up all you need (putty knives, ladders, tape, plaster filler etc.) at Homebase or another DIY store.

Step One: Wearing safety glasses, remove any debris from around the crack in the ceiling.

Step Two: Using a suitable filler for the type of plasterboard or dry wall, cover the crack with a putty knife or trowel.

Step Three: Allow the filler to dry completely. Read the manufacturer's guidelines on the filler for specific instructions, but you'll often need to wait for 24 hours.

Step Four: Using a fine grained sand paper, lightly sand the filler and the ceiling patch area until it is smooth and of a similar texture to the rest of the ceiling.

Step Five: Paint the ceiling (touch up or in its entirety depending on the size of the repair job). A thick wallpaper is excellent for concealing repairs on cracked ceilings.

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